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mary todd lincoln "lincoln" stars and daniel day lewis and tommy lee jones. we are glad that you joined us. a conversation with sally field coming up right now. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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tavis: what a pleasure to welcome sally field to this program. the oscar winner has been a beloved actress. currently starring in what is the most talked about films of "lincoln" lincoln quote. a trip down memory lane. can we do that? >> i guess so. tavis: a small sampling of your award winning career. >> you know, i was on broadway wants. >> really? >> for almost 12 minutes. the show closed the first night. i was so good. you should have seen me. he's going to take you and the fire department to get me out of
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here. i'll wait for the sheriff. until heoing to budge gets here. >> stop thinking about before you end up killing yourself. >> you listen to me. if we lose this place, you are going back to be taken for every single meal. and i will lose what is left of my family. i will not let that happen. i do not care if it kills me or kills you. i will not give up. if the two of you do, you could go straight to hell. >> daniel, oh my god. oh my god. oh my god. the whole time? >> i do not think i can take this. to hit somethingnt
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until they feel as bad as i do. >> here, hit this. mama?t's my destiny, >> you are going to have to figure that out for yourself. life is a box of chocolates. you never know you were going to get. tavis: you have quite a bit of work in the rearview mirror. what do think? >> i do not know what i think. i hardly ever look at that. i do not know. gosh i looked young in "smokey and the bandit." tavis: what is amazing is the range your career has covered already. >> it has covered a lot of years. it is like almost 50. it will be 50 years i have been doing this professionally. we are almost in 2013.
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i started in 1964. it has been averse road of ups and downs and sideways. tavis: too nice to talk about that diverts road of ups and downs inside his, mostly ups. the latest role would -- will add without question more talk to this career because it is a memorable performance. her portrayal of mary tood lin coln. here now a scene from "lincoln". ignorant ofk i'm what you are up to because you have not discussed this with me as you ought to have done. i have never been so easily bamboozled. i was with you when you insisted on amending the constitution and abbasdivided by-- abolishing savior. since you are sending my son into the war. >> -- leave muddy footprints all
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over town. >> no one knows better than you the proper placement of footrpints on paths. you must. because if you fail to acquire the necessary votes -- tavis: all right then. i'm trying to juxtapose the clip we just saw with all of the high-quality, academy-award winning work you have done. if the story is true, you fought really hard for this part. i raise that because they say that for so many of us on life as a perpetual opposition. no matter what you have done and sometimes you have to go and proved again you can do it. why did you fight so hard with steven spielberg? >> well, it is obvious why i
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would want it. i had sort of been tracking mary todd all of my life. i guess, somewhere in my life, i knew that i belonged to her. there are few roles i have felt that way about -- sybil was one. it's my size and i have a round this to my face that i could put the m two people put thee and ma-- me and mary. then when you add that it was stevens's project. and daniel day-lewis was lincoln. how would i not want this project? mary was such a complicated, under examined, maligned and unbelievably important female, american character.
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and stephen had or regionally asked me in 2005 to be mary, but he did not have the project. it was something he wanted to do. he was developing it. he had a screenplay, but it was not going to be right. i was beyond thrilled. was overjoyed. then when i got in the car to drive home, a little voice said inside of me, not so quick, field. it will be a journey and you may not win. the screenplay is came and went and riders came and went, and eventually tony kuchner came on board. there was another actor attached to it at the time, and he had dropped out for personal reasons, some tragedy in his life.
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and then daniel came on board. it had been so many years between the time that stephen originally asked me and the time that it now was really a project, that steven was absolutely going to do. daniel was on board. anhner's words were exquisite. i figured there would be some doubt. whether i was right. for many obvious reasons, the age. i'm 10 years older than daniel and 20 years older than mary was at the time. lincoln was 10 years older than mary. so there's going to be a doubt in there, whether i could pull that off. and also, honestly, stephen would have -- a right. it would not be on reasonable for him to hire an actor that have less baggage. i have so many miles in this
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town, some of that good and some of it not. and you might want to hire an actor who had less recognize ability, so the audience did not have to take time to readjust. i had to forget what feelings i had attached to her and now believe she is mary todd. it would not be unreasonable for him to find someone on recognizable. and part of me wnated to say, ok, i get that. if he calls and tells me that, i get it. i'll back off. i will pretend i do not want these things. i will make them go away. i will go numb. i will turn off the part of myself that wants to reach the work that i can do what i do. but i could not quiet myself. i reached a turning point. and so, serendipitously, he
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called about this time to say, sal, i don't think you go with daniel i do not see with the daniel. it is harsh lighting. there is no precedent, hardly any makeup. and i just cannot see it working . and i argued with him and said, you are wrong and i will not back away. and he heard me and appreciate it it, but he said, i can't go there. i said, test me. he is a very generous man. and also constantly curious. he said, all right. let's do that. i am curious to see. let's do that. and i had to pull it off. i said, i want the real deal -- hair and makeup.
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i do not want to fix this. so we did and we put a test together. and we have the actual text. i went into a non-stage. we did it on the floor of the screening room. yanoush came. it was three of us. stephen on the side of the camera. and i performed, i looked like mary in early stages and performed some of the text. but i felt like a duck in the water who begins to take off and my feet were skittering along the top of the water. i never stretched my wings out. you feel as an actor when you catch the wind. and everything else leaves, you leave your body. and all of the preparation is gone and you just soar.
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many times, you do not know what you did. very hard to recapture. but you lokok for that. and it did not really happened. afterwards, the next day, and i was doing a television series. i was working 24 hours a day, every single day, stephen called the next day when i was at work and said, sal, i'm so sorry. i felt bad for him feeling bad for me. don't talk to me. it just is not going to work, he said. i put together with footage of daniel. daniel was in ireland. he was new to his process of becoming lincoln. he was brand new. so stephen could not feel they had the right to invade that. he was in ireland. we are in los angeles. it makes complete sense, he tried to put together, put some film of recent footage of daniel
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with me. he said, it is not going to work. he said, i am sorry. i thank him. i had done what i had needed to do. i was grateful for how generous he was. hung up the phone and try to get to the day. the good news is i did not kill myself that day because the next day stephen called again as i was headed out to work and said, he could not get it off his mind. he thought about and thought about and he was tormented and he walked around the lot for hours and thinking about it and he talked to dan. he said, he sent the footage to daniel. i said, oh, sweet, jesus. oh, no. you didn't. he said, yes, i did. and daniel wants to meet you. i said, great. i will get my toothbrush. wherever that is, i am going. just tell me when. he said, i will get back to
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because he is in ireland. let's meet maybe new york -- we will have a cup of coffee. i said, i am there. so i am dashing about trying to put a schedule together. stephen's and daniel's, get me off the show. i get another call from steven 's office, saying he wants the same hair and makeup people. for what, a cup of coffee? i was going simpler than that. tavis: hair and makeup for coffee. >> they said, i'm sorry. we didn't tell you. you see, i do not know the mechanisms of how this went down with daniel and stephen, but i think my instinct says that daniel felt that stephen it needed to see us both on film together, that steven was not going to know by having us sit
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across the table with a class of wine. i needed that wine by then. daniel, this is generous person numbertwo. they are such generous men, all the way through. daniel flu in for the day from los angeles to test with me -- to angeles to test with me. for the early stages of the wonderful mr. lincoln. i was becoming mary again. i was taken down to the same -- i was waiting in the lobby of amblin for this to begin. i am very much m ary now. the opening of the doorway. there was a shaft of light coming down on me. i thought, stay right here. i was backlit. i sensed movement across the room, the lobby. i did not look up. i finally looked up and here
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came loping toward me, my darling mr. lincoln with a smirk on his face looking very much like mr. lincoln. and i did not rise until he got next to me and then i rose and gave him my hand. i said, mr. lincoln? and he said, mother, which is what they called each other. i felt this audible hush in the people around us. they fell by the wayside. i never saw them. we went down to the same screening room. we did some sort of bizarre im prov. afterward, i said thank you, both of you, for this generous gesture. i will let you talk. i got in my car. i took mary off me. when i arrived home, the phone was ringing. the two or on it, saying, will you be our mary?
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tavis: and now there is oscar buzz. that is how that works. i did not want to interrupt. i am so glad i did not to hear the full breadth and depth of how this came to be. there are so many things you say now that i want to get you to contact me. it is a shame that i only have two and nights with you. to set in of in this first answer that intrigues me. let me go back to this first. i promise we will get back to the lincoln conversation -- mary todd specifically. your referenced earlier this inner voice. everyone of us has that. some of us ignore it. some of us listen to it. i guess all those big no. and listen to it depending on the occasion. but tell me about this in your voice that has been speaking to you over the longevity of your career. >> and my life. tavis: how much do you respect
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that and of course? >> not everybody has it is what i have learned. you have it to a greater or lesser degree. because my inner voice -- it comes with the creative world, but my inner voice is a character of mind, apart me a very young one, pre-verbal that comes froma survival technique as a child, when you have inconsistent parenting. when a parent, the person who really is hands on taking care of him, has inconsistent attention towards you, cannot see you court barely or worse and the child can't say in his being that the parent is flawed because that understanding is to death the frightening, because the instinct for survival is if
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i do not have apparent that can look after me, then i am alone in the world and i will be left in the forest on my unkown. the child develops a survival technique by turning it on themselves and saying, then it must be me. i must be flawed. i will be better. i will fix it. i will make them love me and make them love me. -- and look at me. depending on the degree of parenting, the voice can be devastating. it can be overpowering and be a way that guides your destiny because you are hearing that voice over everything else that is going on in the world. and so you make your own world before it rarely happens, guided by that voice. but i have learned, through a lot of study, that that voice contains so much of my creativity, and so much of my,
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of me. in much of the time i back away from it because it is painful. it hurts. but i have learned now, even recently in my life, even recently, i have learned, as i face honestly the losing of my mother, i went back and worked with somebody who helped me understand this voice. really as a woman in my 60's for the first time in my life. so it is not that of voice that really steer's my life as much as it used to. it really adds to my life and a different way. and i think if i had not been working with this ingenious man i was working with, that i might have listened to that voice and not called steven or not argue with stephen when he called. that i might have let it be my destiny. tavis: i am curious as to how
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that experience, i take the phrase to offer -- inconsistent parenting. that was terrible. -- charitable. i am curious about how that notion of inconsistent parenting affected your parenting years later. i ask that against the backdrop of mary tood lincoln, who is in fact a mother. this scene is you it showing him that he must get this amendment passed because he is sending your son -- >> if he dies, for the rest of his life he will be dealing with me. tavis: indulge me if you will. and it tell me how that childhood experience of yours impacted your parenting later on. >> i think in many ways, i had two sets of children. my first two sons were born when
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i was young. i had just turned 22 -- turned 22. my second was a 24. i think peter, my oldest son, that too young of. . i apologized to him many times. it was too early in my own process to really be as consistent apparent as he is to his daughters. triumph over it but i recognize some of his survival techniques that seem similar to what minor. -- mine are. my youngest son who is 18 years younger than peter, i was 40 when i had my youngest son. i was better able to understand parenting and the weight of it. when i had peter, i could not
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hardly take care of myself. and so my parenting to peter was much more inconsistent than i like to go back and think about because i feel so badly. if life -- if i could go back, i would not do anything back except go back and redo some of my years with peter and maybe a little with my second son, eli. but that is not what life gives you. what it gives you is the room to grow and to recognize and to come to your children and go, oops. tavis: that is what grandkids are for. you got a couple of those. >> yes. i get better at parenting. how i was parented certainly affected me greatly. and my constant drive to survive and get better.
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drove me. to eventually become a better actor and parent. tavis: you have been a survivor for years now. i want to talk more to run at. d.c. how fast the time goes? it is over for that first night -- the see how fast that time goes back we will talk about more about the character, mary todd lincoln. there's all kinds of buzz on this project. i am looking forward to tomorrow night. we will be joined for part two of this conversation. until then, thank you for being here. see you in a few hours. thanks for watching. keep the faith. ne anotheronve subcommittee to investigate me. >> i believe i am smiling, mrs. lincoln. >> all is in order, ma'am. >> you hav e always taken such online with me, even
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prosecutorial interest in my household accounts. >> your household accounts have always been some interesting. >> thank you. it is true. the miracles i have wrought with bills and cultery. but i had to. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with -- parat two of our conversation with sally field/ tjat hat's next time. we'll see you then. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your
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pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs.
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff:as

Tavis Smiley
PBS November 16, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PST

News/Business. Sally Field. (2012) Part 1 of 2. Actress Sally Field. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Stephen 9, Steven 4, Mr. Lincoln 4, Ireland 3, Daniel 2, Sal 2, Sally 2, Mary Todd Lincoln 2, Mary Todd 2, Los Angeles 1, Serendipitously 1, New York 1, Me 1, Smiley 1, Mama 1, Pbs 1, Eli 1, Wayside 1, Unkown 1, Sybil 1
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Sponsor Internet Archive
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on 11/16/2012